CBNNews.com - ANKARA, Turkey - Turkish basketball fans at the Eurocup playoffs in Ankara stormed the court, cursing the Israeli team for the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Israel's Bnei Hasharon basketball team traveled to Ankara to play the Turk Telekom team in the Eurocup semi-finals.
But the playoff never took place.
Instead, moments before the game's start, 3,000 angry Turkish fans, carrying Palestinian flags and sporting kaffiyehs (traditional Arab headscarves) began pelting the Israelis from the stands with bottles and shouting, 'Allah Akbar' (Allah is greater) and 'Israeli murderers, get out of Palestine.'
"As the game was set to begin, they stormed the court, and we raced toward the dressing rooms," said Eldad Akunis, Beit Hasharon's chairman.
Players stayed in the locker room for two hours until a large police escort arrived to accompany them to their hotel.
"Our players are in shock," he said, "and all we want now is to return home."
The team's captain, Meir Tapiro, said the police prevented the fans from hurting the Israeli players.
"The fans raced onto the court and ran toward us like madmen, but the police stopped them," the team captain said. "It was really scary," he said.
After the arena was cleared, the referee demanded that the game be played, but the Israeli team refused.
The league's press release blamed the Israelis.
"After a delay due to on-court disturbances before the game, the Turk Telecom vs. Bnei Hasharon game was not played due to Bnei's refusal to play despite clearing the arena of fans," the league's statement read.
"The situation will be reviewed by the disciplinary judge to give a final ruling. Under league rules, the refusal to play a game by a team can be sanctioned and the game can be given to the opposing team 20-0," it read.
Anti-Israel demonstrators burned the Israeli flag in front of the building earlier in the day.
Sources: The Associated Press, The Jerusalem Post